Like myself, three of the students I interviewed are also CBL Interns. The CBL Intern Program requires us to be involved in community engagement throughout the year, so we’ve all taken multiple CBL courses and completed various projects. Of the remaining three interviewees, Alexandra C. and Cassie G. have taken two CBL courses each, and Taylor E. has taken one.
Of the students who have taken CBL courses, all but Jake M. have completed their requirements at multiple sites. Having worked at the same site, Luthteran Social Services (LSS), since his first year at Holy Cross, Jake has taken on a position of considerable leadership at LSS and has been able to complete all of his CBL projects there.
In perusing the results of the survey I passed out to the interviewees, I noticed that each of the students who completed CBL projects at multiple sites have done so in at least two different fields. The most popular field is teaching, but other project variations include agricultural work, mentoring, convalescent care, and freelance writing.
So, why is this important? Well, one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed my CBL involvement is that it’s provided me an opportunity to explore two different fields I’ve always considered pursuing in my future. For my first project, I worked with Let’s Get Ready (LGR), a nonprofit that provides free SAT-prep for low-income students in the New England area.
LGR was a big commitment for my first CBL project. Unlike other potential sites that would have only required one to two hours a week, LGR required no fewer than five hours a week from me. A typical week with LGR involved about an hour prepping course materials, three-and-a-half hours of class, and a 30-minute commute, round-trip. (I only found out later that most of the other tutors from Holy Cross were being paid by work study!)
In class, I co-taught with another Holy Cross student. A typical agenda usually began with reviewing homework (which my students would almost never actually complete) and introducing new concepts, followed by a break, then concluding with discussions about expectations for college life and applications and working on writing skills.
This semester, my CBL project has been a more remote one. For my Digital Writing class, I worked with the Sexual Minorities Archives (SMA) in Northampton, Massachusetts, on developing content for their website (set to launch soon!). Because the SMA is so far from Holy Cross, I was only able to visit in person twice. The majority of communication and revision work was conducted via email, which made it difficult to feel engaged in the project. This project was still valuable, though, as a glimpse into the professional world of freelance writing.